This article originally appeared at Gradhacker.org on April 26th, 2013.
While my last Gradhacker post focused on the written aspect of comprehensive exams, for many graduate students there is another, equally dreaded component: the oral examination.
For even the most prepared students, this can be an intense and difficult experience. However, with enough preparation and the right mindset the oral examination can actually be an enjoyable experience where you get to talk about your ideas with members of your committee.
Having just completed this hurdle myself I’d like to go over some of the things that worked and those that I wish I had known before undertaking this process. This advice is the most relevant for those of you defending a written document that you’ve had time to prepare, but some of this will be applicable to more generalized oral examination formats. Continue reading Surviving the Comprehensive Oral Exam